Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Aging Disgracefully

Tonight, on all Hallow's Eve, I found myself reminiscing about, well, childhood and the annual promise of a pillowcase overflowing with mini chocolate bars, lollipops and bags of chips. Costuming for the night of trick-or-treating was always given the utmost consideration and concentration. In the end, it was usually Mom that put in the most hours, using her creative genius and the sewing machine to turn me into a black cat, angel, leprechaun, gypsy. Once Sara and I were in full costume and makeup, we'd pack up our bags for the night (always hopeful that one would not be enough!) and hop in the old Volvo for our candy excursion. Some years we scoured the countryside and lucked out, with neighbours dumping entire bowls of candy into our cases or rummaging through the pantry until they found canned pop or some other elusive treat that would be bragged about the next day on the playground. Other years we went to Kensington and stripped the streets of Suburbia, counting on getting loot through sheer volume of households covered rather than through generosity at every door. Once curfew hit, we'd head home and dump our bag(s) of treats on the livingroom in two piles. Then we'd methodically organise our loot by candy type - chips in one pile, choclate bars in another, packaged candy in another and, of course, the 'undesirables', which most often included raisins and floss. Finally, we'd start the negotiating/trade process. It's a good thing Sara and I didn't like the same types of candy, because we both left the bargaining table (or floor) believing we'd gotten the sweeter deal. Candy was then consumed in mass quantities and walls were bounced off for days to come.

When did the appeal of this ritual wear out? When did I decide I was too old to dress up and go candy hunting? I'd like to say it was when my sister began refusing to join me, but no matter, at some point I would have resigned myself to that fact that trick-or-treating was not acceptable at my age.

This year I bought Hallowe'en candy for myself, dressed up in a somewhat riske costume, hit up a couple of house parties and drank too much wine. It wasn't nearly as fun as going out on October 31st with my big sister , both of us in costume and freezing our fingers off in the bitter cold of a Canadian autumn, receiving 'oohs' and 'awws' from the adults that opened their doors to us and gave us candy for no particular reason, sorting out our treasures and then begging Mom to let us have more than one for lunch the next day..and every meal thereafter!

It's funny, in the crossover from childhood to adulthood we willingly relinquish so many rituals and beliefs with little more than a short-lived sense of resignation before embracing the rituals of adulthood. We give up planning Barbie weddings, in favor of planning our own;we stop believing in Santa Claus, telling ourselves that there is no magic in this world; we stop painting the sky purple because it's supposed to be blue.


fromaway said...

Shannon, that was a good one...reminds me of those days!


al said...

I love Hallowe'en, this year having someone over to hang out while we greeted trick-or-treaters was tons of fun, and going out and seeing all the other great costumes people wore to the bars was a great way to spend a Wednesday night. I love that people in our generation have decided to keep on dressing up on Hallowe'en, when my parents were my age they'd never have even thought of it.

Rob said...

There is no Santa????

Shannon Courtney said...

Just because some people don't believe, it doesn't mean he doesn't exist !